I haven't written a blog confession in a long time.
I keep trying to write blog posts, but I can't. Physically can't. Or maybe it's mentally.
The kids went back to school this week and it was quiet. . . aside from Little Miss. She doesn't *do* quiet. Constantly "Mama, Mama, Mama" and touching me. She's been waking up in the middle of the night, climbing in to my bed and sleeping with her arm around me. This means I'm not sleeping. At all.
I have written sentences and erased them so many times because I can't get my thoughts together.
It's times like this when I realize how my ADD and undiagnosed Aspergers impacts my every day. Oh wait, we're not supposed to call it Aspergers any more. It's all just autism.
The TV is on in the background and my brain can't.
Just imagine trying to watch a movie with someone waving their hands in front of your face constantly. With someone else whispering in your ear. You can almost see the picture on the screen, but that person just won't get out of the way. You keep moving your head to see around, but can't.
And that person next to you whispering in your ear is making it impossible to hear the dialogue. And he or she is a stranger...sitting uncomfortable close and breathing on you. Like hot breath, so your skin starts to crawl.
It seems like the room may even be closing in around you.
And that's just trying to write a blog post with the TV on.
Monday night, I attended a meeting about neighborhood issues. NPR was on low volume in the background. No one else seemed to notice. People were discussing neighborhood concerns and my ears kept focusing on what was happening in Egypt. All the voices from the room and the radio seemed on the same volume.
My doctor calls it a filtering problem.
All of this builds up inside me and my fingers end up frozen over the keyboard struggling to get what is happening in my head on to the screen.
You know how when you walk in to a room and completely forget what you went in there for?
My brain does that complete stop. Reboot. What was I doing?
With every noisy distraction.
I just want all the noise to stop.
I have two options when things get like this: I go into Leelee's room and shut the door or I go to the gym. Judging by how my pants aren't fitting, I've been spending far too much time in the upstairs room with the lights off.
When I go to the gym, there's no headphones or music or even book reading. I can't multitask. The repetition of moving my feet up and down on the arc trainer is enough. I watch the numbers appear on the screen and I do calculations on exactly how many calories I'm actually burning per minute and if I want to reach a certain caloric goal, what my stride must be vs how long I need to stay at a specific stride to reach that goal.
I'm not sure which is more appealing: the quiet, the repetition or figuring out the math.
I don't want to come home before the kids are in bed. If they are still awake, it's a complete sensory overload: singing, whining, goodnight hugs, and everyone filling me in on what I missed during the hour I was gone...all at the same time.
Too many things plugged in to one circuit and it overloads.
Sometimes, my brain filter turns all the way on. I filter out
everything that isn't important to me at that moment. Noise,
children...even eating. A giant DO NOT DISTURB sign in my head. When someone ignores the sign that only I can see, I open the door and tell them to go away. Only not that nicely. Understanding social cues was never my thing.
Don't get me wrong, I can fake it really well. Or not. I tend to be overly social in real life. The Boy's math teacher last year said he was the most social person with autism she has ever met. Autism isn't about not being social. It's about not knowing or recognizing appropriate social cues and norms. We don't know when to stop talking or when the conversation has drifted. We keep trying to get the conversation back to things we are comfortable with. So it may sound like we are always talking about ourselves or the things we love. Or we're telling our life stories to the person next to us in the check out line. That whole "Don't talk to strangers" thing doesn't work too well in our house.
Having a child with autism helps. He understands me. I understand him. Sometimes, I think he saved me. Without him, I wouldn't know why I'm like this. Without learning what to do to help him, I would have never learned what to do to help myself. We both need quiet and that time to detach from the world and recenter ourselves.
Of course when he was younger and the only thing that would calm him down was touching my feet, it was a completely different story. Don't ever touch my feet. Ever. It's like a thousand needles in my skin and a person screaming in my ears all at once. But I did it for my son. It's when I truly understood how much a mother is really willing to sacrifice for her child.
I take my hour a day at the gym or an hour in the dark room and pray its enough for me to go on to another day of too much noise and too much touch. And I remind myself they won't be small forever.
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